One of the most important building blocks in our training philosophy is that we are looking for the good stuff that the dog does so that we can reward that. There’s something a little magical about that, because it rubs off on everything. Suddenly you notice that you’ve become a surprisingly positive person in a lot of different situations. ?
But a thing that’s perhaps even cooler is to start laughing even when the dog is making a mistake. Both Elsa and I have our laughter as a no reward marker. We laugh and try again. (Well, of course there are situations when laughter doesn’t come easy ? but for the most part it actually works).
A while ago we had a luxurious course (= indoors when outside is very snowy and cold) at the Gothenburg Dog Arena for ten teams that wanted to learn more about retrieving clicker training style.
After the course was over, we got a note from Johanna with her lab Rosie:
“You asked what we took with us from the course. And it was a lot. But on the way home in the car I came to think of a thing that probably stands over everything else: Just laugh when the dog gets it wrong. I hope I ignore the mistakes my dogs make and just try again, but there are surely signals about how I feel that might seep through. But laughing just sounded so nice. I’ll take it with me in all training in the future. ”